DC fans are still reeling from the news that Michael Keaton is in talks to reprise his role as Batman in multiple DCEU movies, beginning with The Flash’s first solo outing in 2022. For many, these reports came completely out of the blue, but the seeds for Keaton’s return to the cape and cowl have actually been sown on the small screen already.
As ScreenRant rightly points out, the Arrowverse paved the way for Tim Burton’s version of the Caped Crusader to make a comeback when it adapted the Crisis on Infinite Earths event. Taking its cues from the comic book storyline of the same name, the epic crossover built bridges between DC’s movies and TV shows by revealing them to be part of the same realm, spread out across multiple Earths.
Ezra Miller’s Barry Allen, of course, briefly crossed paths with Grant Gustin’s version of the same character to confirm that the DCEU is one of said multiple Earths, and Burton’s Batman universe was also revealed as part of the nexus. The Gotham City that Keaton’s Dark Knight inhabited – referred to as Earth-89 in the Arrowverse – was glimpsed during part one of “Crisis,” though Robert Wuhl’s Alexander Knox was the only character from those movies to make a cameo appearance. That said, a brief shot of the Bat-Signal was enough to confirm that Keaton’s Batman is still very much at large in the multiverse canon.
If Keaton does sign up to reprise his role, it’s unclear exactly how he’ll feature in The Flash. Reports suggest that the Scarlet Speedster’s solo pic will be an adaptation of DC’s Flashpoint event, but that featured the Thomas Wayne version of Bats for the most part. Perhaps it will end up being a loose adaptation of the source material, then, with Keaton’s much-aged Bruce Wayne written into a prominent role. This could be bad news for Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who played Wayne Senior in Batman V Superman, as the Walking Dead star has expressed interest in suiting up as Flashpoint‘s Batman in the past.
In any case, DC, with the help of The CW, has already done the groundwork for Keaton’s Batman return and the establishment of a multiverse comprising its movie and TV properties. And we can expect to hear more about how these concepts will be expanded on when details about The Flash are revealed at the FanDome event in August.